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Chat: Jeff Erickson

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday June 06, 2005 3:30 PM ET chat session with Jeff Erickson.

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Jeff Erickson is the senior editor at Rotowire, and the host of XM Radio's "Fantasy Focus," heard every weekday at 2 p.m. ET on XM Channel 175.

Jeff Erickson: Greetings all - sorry about the delay. I just got back from loosening up the steps at Clint Barmes' house. Mission accomplished...

Joey Belle (Cleveland): Do you think the Blue Jays might give Francisco Rosario a try with David Bush's demotion and Chad Gaudin's recent christmas tree impersonation?

Jeff Erickson: I'd be patient with Gaudin; one bad outing isn't enough to dissuade me that he'll be ok. Rosario is having a good campaign at Syracuse, but Gaudin was doing even better before his recall. I think Gaudin will get at least a few more starts before the Jays do anything drastic.

rudd48 (Lexington, KY): How long til we see Joey Gathright in the majors? You and I know that Alex Sanchez cannot keep hitting, nor is he part of the Rays future, but do the Rays know this?

Jeff Erickson: I think we need to see a regime change in Tampa Bay, starting all the way at the ownership level, before we see some of the changes that we'd like. What's funny is that they haven't been hesitant to promote their pitcher's prospects, but have been slow to promote their hitters.

Gathright might take longer to make it back up than Johnny Gomes - I fail to see what he needs to prove anymore at Durham. At least Gathright's defense creates a good excuse for the Rays there.

BenjiOrthen (Breyer's Tower, MA): What do you think the Angels are doing with Kotchman? He plays in two games and then gets benched for the duration?

Jeff Erickson: I feel your pain there. There was one train of thought that he was being showcased as a potential part of a Mike Sweeney deal, but obviously this is a pretty poor way to showcase him. Look for him to get even less playing time this week, with the Angels on the road for interleague play. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets sent down again soon.

EdRogers (Bowie, MD): A draft theory question: Does it make sense to go into a rotisserie draft planning to spend $1 on a pitcher or two you don't want? It seems like this could work if you know there will be will be a couple of relievers on the free agent list you could use.

Jeff Erickson: No, not at all; injuries and performance declines are going to happen amongst the players that you *do* want anyhow - why waste a roster spot? Better to make a hard choice between two good options than languish with two wasted spots.

bctowns (Cubicleville, USA): Jeff, I realize you aren't Will Carroll, but who would you rather have for the rest of the season? Vlad or Berkman? I'm worried Vlad is going to pull a Richie Sexson and be out for the rest of the season. Their numbers from a year ago are pretty comparable. Thanks for chatting.

Jeff Erickson: I'd rather take the chance on Vlad. We *know* about the severity of Berkman's injury, and that he's not going to have that knee be 100 percent all season. Vlad could come back as early as the end of the week. I don't think his injury necessarily compares to Sexson's.

nykeden (Boston): Good afternoon, How would you rate the chances of Austin Kearns or Kip Wells being traded sometime this season? What's the status of BJ Upton, toiling away at Durham, and when might he show up in Tampa? Thanks.

Jeff Erickson: Kearns has a better chance of being traded than Wells, but I don't think either gets dealt. First, Dan O'Brien seems extremely cautious about trading to begin with, and he's indicated his reluctance towards trading any of his four outfielders. It looks we'll have to fire up the Free Austin Kearns campaign shortly.

Upton committed three more errors on Friday, giving him 24 on the season. Given that his defense was the stated reason for keeping him down (the unstated reason is that they wanted to slow down his service time clock), that's all the justification they need for keeping him down for another month or two; it's not as if his bat is on fire either. I'd say August is a good bet.

BobD (Boise): Your site's most recent NBA article is from February - have you lost interest? What's the deal?

Jeff Erickson: There's a navigation problem here - we've been posting hoops articles fairly regularly, at least our Give and Go feature: http://www.rotowire.com/basketball/features/go.htm

KMcClatchy (Pittsburgh): Which Pirates will move on to contenders, and what would they bring in return?

Jeff Erickson: Matt Lawton is almost certain to be traded, but unless Jim Duquette gets hired elsewhere in time for the trade deadline, he'll likely fetch no more than pocket lint for the Bucs.

Jose Mesa is probably also a good bet to get dealt, if he can avoid pulling a Graves over the next month.

Jay (Madison): Will the Mariners call up Felix? His walk rate suggests he may not be ready. What do you expect for him near and long term?

Jeff Erickson: I agree with you on King Felix - I'd like to see him spend the bulk of the season at Tacoma. He's only 19, and as you alluded to, he's walking a batter every other inning. There's plenty of time for them to develop him. I would be surprised if he's up before September.

anthony (providence): Would you waive a John Buck to pick up Doumit?

Jeff Erickson: I'm on the fence with this one; you might have to wait until the Bucs hit the road in interleague play to see Doumit get regular playing time, but soon enough they're going to have to decide where they want him to fit and start playing him there. It's probably worth it to go ahead and take that gamble.

crackityjones (Boston): Jeff - have you met any of the other XM radio voices and will we be hearing BP Radio on XM soon?

Jeff Erickson: There was a big kickoff meeting before the baseball channel launched, so I met many of the other radio hosts, including my co-host, Phil.

As for getting BP radio on, if I had that sort of pull, I'd do so in a second. Until then, I'll have to suffice with making Will, Joe and the rest of the gang our most regular guests.

emanski (trenton): Before he was a Phillie Jim Thome was known for slow starts. Any chance he'll go all .300/.420/.620 on us from here on out?

Jeff Erickson: I'm not so sure if he will - I'm still worried about the lingering back concerns. He homered this weekend, but this is a chronic sort of injury, and hard to pin down. See if you can consult with Will Carroll as your personal injury guru before you act on him.

Malcolm the Lesser (Exhibition Stadium): Please kindly comment on the following hurt / injured fellas: Nomar, Javy Lopez, Scott Rolen, Vladimir Guerrero, and John Thompson.

Jeff Erickson: Nomar - Abandon all hope ye who enter here; I expect nothing from him down the stretch.

Javy Lopez - When he returns, don't be surprised if his power is lacking a little; hand, thumb and wrist injuries tend to sap a hitter's power even after they return.

Scott Rolen - Making good progress, I expect him back by the start of July.

Vlad - Could be back as early as the weekend, depending in part upon how today's meeting with the Braves' team orthopedist goes.

Thomson - At best we're looking at the end of July.

steve (NJ): Is there any chance that Kyle Davies gets demoted at any point (even way down the road when John Thomson comes back) if he continues to be effective?

Jeff Erickson: It's going to take a lot for Davies to get demoted, especialy since Thomson will be gone for so long. Here's the thing though - I tend to get wary of pitchers who rocket through the upper levels without spending a full season at them. Davies moved up a couple of levels last year before spending less than a quarter of a season at Richmond; his walk rate there was a little high for my tastes. You might see what sort of scratch he'll fetch in trade talks, especially in a one-year league.

gary (nyc): What format of play have you found most enjoyable over the years? I'm in a non-keeper league and with head-to-head the sample size of one week allows for too many flukes and 5x5 weights HR's and SB's the same etc., so that's a problem. We are yet to try the points format. Do you think points would be the way to go in such a league?

Jeff Erickson: The deeper and more complex the better; my favorite league is our Staff League - 18-team mixed league, 40-man roster, including 10 minor leaguers; we keep up to 15 major leaguers and can keep all 10 minor leaguers if we want. It's an auction league with multi-year contracts as well.

If you're going to go h-to-h, I think points are more appropriate; the bigger the roster the better, again, to limit (but not eliminate) the variance of such a short schedule. Also, the more categories that you can use to generate points, the better job it does of leveling out the variance.

JR (Utica, NY): What would you project for Relaford if he starts at SS for the Rockies for the next few months?

Jeff Erickson: For those that haven't heard, Clint Barmes is out for three months with a broken clavicle.

I think the playing time will be split among Luis Gonzalez and Relaford - Gonzalez is a little better defensively, Relaford might have a better bat. Relaford is a classic guy to use for home starts, taxiing him on the road if you can. He won't give you a ton of power, but he'll help across the board in Coors.

office411 (Philadelphia, PA): What's going on with Victor Martinez? Should I hold on to him, trade him or cut him loose?

Jeff Erickson: Hold him! Please, don't cut him. In fact, you should be trading *for* Martinez now, while his perceived value is still low. He's had four homers in his last seven games.

Go Wolfpack (Raleigh, NC): Any chance Chad Orvella becomes the closer in Tampa this season?

Jeff Erickson: Yeah, I think there's a better than average chance he gets an opportunity to close. Eventually the Rays are going to find a deal they like for Danys Baez, and when they do, they'll probably turn to Orvella, given how much Jesus Colome has struggled this year.

tms (new york): Hi Jeff In a 6 offense catergory league, obp, slugging, HRs, RBI, Runs, SB. I am doing well in all categories except SB (last). Who do you like the rest of the way Beltran or Edmounds. Is there going to be enough SBs from Beltran to make the power differences? This is part of a trade I have been offered that can be revised. Thanks

Jeff Erickson: I still like Beltran; while it's clear that Willie Randolph is no Phil Garner in terms of encouraging the running game, I think part of his lack of stolen bases derives from his quadriceps injury. Stolen bases also tend to come in bunches - I think I'd take a chance on them still coming.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): How come they have a fantasy guy on the day before the amateur draft? You aren't in keeper leagues running *that* deep are you? Well, with a draft in the offing do you have any tips for Garagiola, Bavasi, Lamar and the rest of the gang?

Jeff Erickson: I'm not personally in a draft that deep, but I know of at least a couple of leagues that are. Frankly, I think Boyd Nation and John Sickels would be better served to answer your questions in that regard.

dan (nj): I still have Danny Kolb on my roster (on the bench.) Is there any reason for this?

Jeff Erickson: You're a thrill-seeker. You enjoy life on the edge. You like seeing guys that purportedly throw up to 95 mph yet can't strike anyone out.

No, I think that it's going to take a lot to happen for Kolb to be trusted in a fantasy-valuable role. That the Braves are in the Danny Graves chase speaks volumes.

johnny (bridgeport, ct): Is McPherson going to lose playing time once Vlad comes back?

Jeff Erickson: No, I don't think he'll lose much time as a result. It's more likely that DaVanon and Juan Rivera will continue to lose more time.

shamah (DC): Jeff, I know wins are tough to predict, but can you think of any free wins that may be lying around on the waiver wire these days? I'm dominating the hitting categories, even up there in era and whip, but can't seem to get any w's!

Jeff Erickson: Not to sound too trite, but focus on the winning teams, maybe look to get some of the top set-up men if it's hard to find a decent starter out there. Pay attention to what the Dodgers do about their starting rotation, try to jump on prospects filling in for injured pitchers on winning teams - in other words, look for the next Kyle Davies.

Still, all that said, searching for wins should still take a backseat to looking for solid pitchers with good overall skill sets.

JR (Utica, NY): Do you think Brett Myers can be considered an ace now, or is he a "sell-high" candidate?

Jeff Erickson: Actually, I'm a bit of a believer; he might not rise the level of ace, but at the same token, his strikeout and walk numbers are encouraging enough that I think he's for real. If you get "ace" value for him in a trade, do it, but otherwise ride him out.

misterjohnny (Los Angeles): Trade Jason Schmidt? What kind of value should I get to make a deal worthwhile?

Jeff Erickson: I'm not sure what to do About Schmidt. Let's face it - if you trade him now, odds are you're going to get .75 on the dollar. Is that worth it? Maybe so - I'm alarmed that his velocity is off, and that he's had some shoulder issues, to go along with his medical history. Maybe if you make him part of a 2-for-2 trade, you'll disguise the fact that you're looking to peddle him.

Michael Oro (New Orleans, LA): Due to the struggles for the Florida Marlins on a 7-game road trip,which they lost 6 out of the 7, what trades do they have to make to get back to a level of winning that they had in 2003?

Jeff Erickson: Well, I think the big move that they'll make is to create room for Jeremy Hermida, probably by trading Juan Encarnacion (there was some talk already involving Zach Day), or by, gulp, resting Mike Lowell more often. Basically, they need one more bat.

JR (Utica, NY): Can you guess at some ETAs for the following prospects: AMarte, RWeeks, JGuzman, and CQuentin?

Jeff Erickson: Marte just got called up today; I can't envision him getting called up and then not playing.

Weeks - Sometime after the A-S break; his defense and service time are the reasons why he's down in the first place; I think it'll be before September, but we'll still have to wait.

Guzman - No earlier than September, barring an injury.

Quentin - Unfortunately, probably September, although Terrero's injury could open a door if he lands on the DL.

steve (nj): Would you start Freddie Garcia in Colorado tonight? Is the good possibility of a win worth the beating the ERA and WHIP might take?

Jeff Erickson: No, I would not; the only redeeming quality would be that if you're in a league with weekly moves, you'd get two starts out of him this week.

While the average runs scored per game at Coors Field is down a little bit compared to this point in the season the last two years, it's a relative down. Coors gets most everyone - why play Russian Roulette if you don't have to?

LucaBrasi (Omaha): Barmes out three months?! I just threw up. Any suggestions for a replacement that would likely still be on the waiver wire?

Jeff Erickson: Take a look at Luis Gonzalez (the COL version) or Desi Relaford. Context is key to your question - if you're in a 12-team NL only league, your options are infinitely smaller; if you're in a 10-team mixed league, there are a lot of ways you can go with that.

Vic (Los Angeles): Just heard the news that Barmes is out 2-3 months with a broken clavicle after falling while carrying groceries up some stairs. Yeesh. Who's the best option among the 2B scraps remaining: Cantu, Polanco, Kennedy, or Blum?

Jeff Erickson: I can't believe that I'm about to recommend Geoff Blum on the pages of Baseball Prospectus, but gulp, I think he might be the best option. I think his playing time is relatively secure, at least compared to Polanco; Cantu has all of three walks this year and is starting to get exposed. It basically comes down to Kennedy vs. Blum - Blum provides more power, Kennedy more speed. Make your decision according between those two according to your needs.

anthony (providence): Would you trade Renteria for Rollins at this point? Edgar has 3 SBs, and I don't really see him picking that pace up much.

Jeff Erickson: If SB's are your need, then yes, I'd do that trade. Renteria I think will help you a little more at the plate, but Rollins has a clear advantage on the basepaths.

beanpj (Washington, DC): Hey Jeff, love all the fantasy content. Quick couple of questions for you. I had Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana and needed outfield help. Fellow owner offered me Abreu straight up for either one of them. I decided to trade Santana and kept Pedro. Smart move? Second, what are you forecasting for Adam Dunn the rest of the way? Is that average going to climb, or should we expect the .235 average to stick?

Jeff Erickson: Abreu for Santana - if there's a better example of value-for-value, I haven't seen it. Smart trade if you need the hitting help.

Dunn is always going to have a bit of a batting average risk, in part due to his approach, in part because of his huge strike zone. It could climb a little, but I don't think he's a threat to hit .300 for the season either.

Jeff Erickson: Thanks folks for stopping by - hopefully you're not one of the unlucky Clint Barmes owners out there. Good luck this season.


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